The Malachy Papers

With Earl Harvin

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AllMusic Review by

Flanked by an additional percussionist -- a tympani man no less -- Malachy Papers comes up with the Kansas City combo's most intense recorded outing, With Earl Harvin. The happily simmering pot of stew has no closer musical match than the groove "Brilliant Corners" gets into once the band is past a somewhat stilted reading of the head. Of even more interest to the jazz buff then -- yet another attempt at a tune nobody can play right -- the choice cover version of Joe Farrell's "Moon Germs," deliciously exotic in flavorings supplied naturally by the band's flair for sonic contrast, a series of superb improvisations building around the insane Mark Southerland's electric saxophone patterns and Mike Dillon's polyrhythmic accompaniment.

Episodic original compositions tend to merge into each other, evoking confusion as to the nature of structure even while asking questions as obvious as "What's Wrong with Butt Fungus?" The sometimes frenzied Mike Dillon holds himself in superb control as "Gimpy Ho" turns into the "Solitude of Kim," floating on a sheer cloth of tabla patterns. Bassist John Hamil rounds out the basic group, very much synchronizing all the moves and choosing from a wide variety of costumes and motivations when choosing his tone. It is to guest Earl Harvin's credit that he can add an additional drum part to the music of this already intense modern jazz group without sealing in a sense of bombast. Malachy Papers' notable subtleties are as audible as ever and, when appropriate, an intense experience in timekeeping arises the way it only can when a pair of drummers are busy.